Next to Christmas, the Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. It’s just so festive!
And what we celebrate – Freedom – is my highest personal value.
This Independence Day, though, I began to ponder the meaning of “independence.” What does that mean, anyway? And why do we prize it so?
It’s great to be able to financially take care of ourselves. To be able to set healthy emotional boundaries so we don’t fall into codependence. It’s certainly important to honor and respect each other and not treat anyone as less than. These are the beautiful meanings of independence that I celebrate.
But there is this insidious sub-definition of Independence that lurks and takes hold, especially in America: We do not want to rely on each other for fear of being seen as “weak” or “incompetent.” Independence becomes synonymous with “separate” and sometimes an attempt at “better than” as we attempt to climb up competitive ladders higher and higher hoping that then somehow we will have more value and people will love us more. We Lone-Wolf it, saying, “I’ve got it” whatever “it” is (and whether or not we’ve really “got” it).
Thus, we can celebrate our “independence” to our own detriment. Yikes!
I, too, have suffered from Lone Wolf Syndrome, and sometimes I still do. There is a part of me that likes to prove myself. To show the world – and myself – that I don’t need anyone.
What do I get from this? I get to feed my pride (which always needs more and more and is a never-ending loop). I get to put up a shield so others don’t see my fear. I get to pretend I am competent and hide when I am not, so I can buy into the Illusion that somehow, people will love me more if I show them how cool and independent I am.
I realized how this was working against me and I underwent a transformation. I use to not be able to express myself and I felt constantly stressed out and overwhelmed and in constant fear that I felt I had to hide. I had to “prove” I was independent/worthy/competent/etc.
Now, I am able to share my fears and needs and to ask for support. And you know what? Life is SO much easier! It’s truly magical. I’m continually expanding and taking myself to the next level. I allow myself to be in the Flow of life, to enjoy the gifts of others and to share my own. I feel alive. This is what fulfilling my potential is all about. And I want this for you, too. (Email me at Nicole@BeYouConfidently.com for a complimentary “Fulfill Your Potential breakthrough session” if you would like support with this.)
Do you let others in? Do you feel comfortable being vulnerable? Expressing your needs? Sharing who you are – all of you?
Prizing Independence to the extreme, we forget the blessing of community. Of leaning on each others’ strengths. Of not having to do it alone. You were born with certain interests and talents that are different than our neighbor’s, than your friend’s, than your sister’s…for a reason. Together, we ALL have what we need to get all our needs met. It’s too damn hard for any one of us to do everything alone.
Why do we make things so hard for ourselves?
There is so much strength in vulnerability. (Check out Brene Brown’s books for more on this – she’s done a ton of research on it and it’s quite cool.)
So, let’s celebrate Inter-Dependence. We are all capable and strong and beautiful and vulnerable. We all have strengths that support our community in the Whole. We are meant to be part of a larger puzzle. Not to break off and go it alone (this is the Illusion).
We do not become better by being independent and separate. We become better by being inter-dependent and connected to each other.
So, celebrate your Inter-Dependence today. Tell someone how they have made your life better. Bless them.
Let the gifts of other into your soul and your life. It lessens the burden on your own shoulders. And makes them feel valued.
Until next time…
With love and light,
Nicole Justine Cavanaugh